Jefferson Co. Schools Figure Out Parents Want School Choice
The Jefferson County Public School System is so intent on discrediting David Williams' efforts to end the ridiculous busing system in Jefferson County, that they have completely validated the supporters of school choice in Kentucky.
From a Courier-Journal report:
Although much of the debate and changes surrounding JCPS' emotionally charged student-assignment plan has been driven by a desire to shorten bus rides and make neighborhood schools more accessible, a recent district analysis shows that choice is arguably just as important to families as a school close to home.
Out of more than 8,100 incoming kindergarten applications for 2012-13, 53 percent selected as their top choice their "resides" school, which is often the school closest to their home.
But 47 percent -- more than 3,700 kids -- chose a different school, even if it meant a longer bus ride.
"People say everyone wants their closest school, but this tells me that choice is very important," said Jefferson County school board Chairman Steve Imhoff, who believes the data show that a push by some residents and politicians for neighborhood schools wouldn't be as popular as they contend.
Neighborhood schools aren't popular versus having a choice about where your child goes to school. In fact, nearly half of parents choose differently, especially if the 'neighborhood school' is a failing school.
By contrast, several elementary schools in more urban or economically depressed areas such as Shacklette, Semple, Hazelwood and Frayser had far less loyal followings, with just 15 percent to 31 percent of their "resides" students selecting them for kindergarten.
Shacklette principal Candace Sellars said although her school's poor selection rate can be blamed partly on its lack of a preschool program, she recognizes that low test scores also are a factor.
"We understand that student achievement is one of our most important priorities. The arrows (test scores) must go up if we want to increase our student population at Shacklette," she said.
Additionally, we note that this information does not actually support the hypothesis JCPS desires. Just because parents prefer choice over short bus rides, it in no way means that they prefer mandated long bus rides to short bus rides. That decision just isn't examined by the information they provide.